Four children separated by vast distances all undergo the same ritual, watched by cloaked strangers. Four flashes of light erupt, and from them emerge the unmistakable shapes of incredible beasts - a wolf, a leopard, a panda, a falcon. Suddenly the paths of these children - and the world - have been changed for ever. Enter the world of Erdas, where every child who comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal, a rare bond between human and beast that bestows great powers to both. A dark force has risen from distant and long-forgotten lands, and has begun an onslaught that will ravage the world. Now the fate of Erdas has fallen on the shoulders of four young strangers ...and on you.
I really enjoyed this first book in the Spirit Animals series: Wild Born. I'll admit it, I chose it for the cover, but also because I've enjoyed Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series, and because I saw that book two is by Maggie Stiefvater whose Raven Cycle I've been into recently. I checked out the audio from the library, read by Nicola Barber who did a wonderful job.
I would classify this series as middle grade, similar to that of Mull's Fablehaven series, and would recommend it to anyone who loves animals as companions. It features four different children from different lands and backgrounds who have been chosen by the legendary fallen spirit animals to fulfill a huge responsibility. They all have things to work through in coming to terms with their spirit animals and finding where their strengths lie, it's not necessarily a perfect bond at first sight.
I love this concept of the spirit animals, this would really have spoken to me as a kid had these books been available! I'm certain there would have been much pretending going on in this world during the summers at my grandmother's house! I definitely look forward to listening to Stiefvater's contribution to the series, with #3 coming from Garth Nix. Also adding to the series will be Shannon Hale, Tui T. Sutherland, Eliot Schrefer and Marie Lu.